While the Decherd plant has been producing engines forand Infiniti vehicles since 1997, Thursday marked the opening of a new 310,000-sq.-ft. facility which is a collaboration between the -Nissan Alliance and Mercedes parent .
Nearly half of processes at new engine plant fully automated.
DECHERD, TN – Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz executives were on hand Thursday to celebrate the two automakers’ continuing collaboration during Job One at a new powertrain facility.
The 2.0L turbocharged 4-cyl. gasoline engines will be used in both the European versions of the Infiniti Q50 sports sedan and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class assembled in Tuscaloosa, AL, about 200 miles (320 km) south of Decherd.
While the Decherd plant has been producing engines forand Infiniti vehicles since May 1997, Thursday’s festivities heralded the opening of a new 310,000-sq.-ft. (28,800-sq.-ft.) facility which is a collaboration between the -Nissan Alliance and Mercedes parent .
About $319 million was spent to create the facility. Some 200 new jobs have been added to date, with that number expected to increase to 400 once the engine plant ramps up to its full 250,000-unit annual capacity.
Construction of the ground-up facility began in May 2012. It incorporates a number of energy- efficient design features, such as a heat-reflecting white roof and natural daytime lighting through use of a skylight grid.
Infiniti previously announced it would start local assembly later this year in China of the extended-wheelbase versions of a new Q50 sports sedan and QX50 CUV for the Chinese market. Next year, theluxury brand company will start assembly of a Q30 premium compact car in the U.K. for global markets.
Executives on hand for the Job One launch in Decherd included Infiniti President Johan de Nysschen; Erhard Schletterer, Mercedes-Benz director-engine production; Infiniti Americas Vice President Michael Bartsch; and Gary Edwards, Infiniti vice president-Decherd Powertrain Operations and Battery Plant.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam also delivered remarks welcoming the JV to the Southern state.
“The opening of this new facility is the beginning of our manufacturing expansion,” de Nysschen says in a statement. “Infiniti needs additional capacity to fuel the expected growth which will be driven by our expanding portfolio.”
The plant also is an “excellent demonstration of the strong collaboration we have withAG,” he says. “It will leverage the technologies, expertise and highest level of manufacturing standards from both companies, which, in turn, benefit from the synergy and economies of scale of this joint effort.”
Mercedes, Nissan and alliance partnerhave shared engines, plants and vehicle architectures for small cars and vans since Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn announced a broad-based partnership in 2010, including reciprocal shareholdings.
Zetsche and Ghosn are scheduled to hold a news conference Friday at which they will announce Nissan will launch production of the newly released entry-level Mercedes CLA-Class sedan, plus a derivative for Infiniti, at Nissan’s plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, in April 2017.